Indie author Gregory Delaurentis' account of organising a blog tour for his debut novel Cover of Darkness provides a useful case study for any writer seeking ways to raise the profile of their self-published book before a new and wider audience.
After finishing a successful one-month Facebook and Goodreads campaign, I needed to keep the momentum going to increase the discoverability of my book. A Google search of my name and book title produced less than a handful of returns. I had barely made a footprint on the expansive surface of the Internet.
I needed another move to push the book forward. I don’t really remember where I found the phrase ‘blog tour’, I think it was in an article somewhere, but I began to research the idea on the Internet and found a few useful articles. I found it interesting that traditional publishers were using blog tours for their clients because regular book tours were not bringing in the sales or the readers to make them cost effective.
The articles I found didn't go into many of the questions that I had, such as what where the real mechanics a blog tour. All I knew was that if I began a blog tour, I would have to go in blind.
It may have been one of the articles that mentioned Goddess Fish Promotions, or their name may have been the first brought up by a Google search, but I was certain that Goddess Fish was the company that I wanted to use. I had a feeling, and I always go with my gut. I contacted the ladies at Goddess Fish, and paid for the ‘full service premium book tour’ for four weeks.
Preparing for My Blog Tour
Goddess Fish Promotions moved fast. I started getting email rapid fire with instructions and questions. I provided pictures of myself and my book cover, a bio, blurb, three excerpts, interview questions and blog topics. There were a lot of essays to be written and questions to be answered even before the tour began. Further, they wanted a copy of the book in PDF format to give to any bloggers who wanted to review the book. This gave me pause for a moment, but with my desire to get the book into the hands of readers, if a few reviewers didn’t pay for it, it really wasn’t a loss.
All this information gathering was to give the bloggers fodder for their posts. They were given all the information that they needed and then some time to set up their blog page as an interview or review or however they wanted to present their post.
Goddess Fish also gave me helpful and detailed instructions such as:
- comment first thing each morning, thanking the host and welcoming readers and those providing comments
- make yourself available during the day, responding to and engaging those who provided comments and if you couldn’t, say so at the beginning of the day
- comment and thank the host at the end of each day
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t too good at number 3, but I was available throughout the day responding to those that commented.
I was also instructed to use my social network connections during the blog tour such as:
- like the Goddess Fish Facebook post
- like and share the blogger’s Facebook posts
- on Twitter, use tweets and retweets
- promote the tour on my personal blog and so on
The promoters expect you work just as hard as they do. They want you to make the most of this opportunity to build your online presence and name recognition, to grow, to shine and to show off your work. They also want you to Google yourself to gauge the impact of the blog tour. That, I learned, was the gist of the blog tour.
How My Blog Tour Progressed
When the tour began it was inauspicious. It was a post on a blog with some of my answers to questions set out as an interview, with my blurb, my bio, and an excerpt. This was repeated with some variation for the next four weeks.
It had also been suggested that with my introduction each morning I pose a question for the blog hosts to ponder. I did this sometimes, not often, and it engaged a few posters, as did my comments. I found that you can’t make commenters involve themselves in the tour, they come to that on their own. Some asked questions, some commented on my comments. I thanked everyone as a group and individually. There were some commenters that even followed the whole tour, appearing and commenting at every stop. It was encouraging to see them every day and I thanked them for it.
Further, I saw my blog tour as a good opportunity to make and use a book trailer. So I went ahead, created one and hurriedly gave it to my blog tour promoters, who immediately included it in the tour. It was a good move. Don’t pass up an opportunity to catch the attention of a reader.
Satisfied with the Results
As the tour gathered momentum, the inauspicious beginning became more dynamic, exciting and fun. I looked forward to the next day to see what its post would look like and the comments that I would receive. I didn’t concern myself with the number of individual comments, as I was advised that many more people might have visited but not commented. Every day my Facebook likes increased and my Twitter followers ballooned. This is what I wanted.
Somewhere I read about a Law of Three that if a person sees your book in three different locations on the internet, e.g. a website, a blog site, a vendor site, or any mix thereof, they will be more likely to buy it. A blog tour is a great way to make your book appear in more places online. Don't worry if there's no immediate gain in sales during and after a tour. Just consider that the seeds have been sown and that eventually you will see a rise in sales.
Whether, like Gregory Delaurentis, you paid a third party provider to run your blog tour or whether you organised your own, please feel free to share your experience via the comments box below. Top tips, best practice and cautions are all welcome!
[…] Reaching Readers: Case Study of a Blog Tour by Gregory Delaurentis […]
Such a great post! It’s always fun to see what goes on behind the scenes and all the organisational skills! Very impressive and it’s always a pleasure to work on a blog tour.
[…] Read our Article: Case Study of a Blog Tour with Gregory Delaurentis […]
[…] Comment first thing each morning, thanking the host and welcoming readers and those providing comments; make yourself available during the day, responding to and engaging those who provided comments and if you couldn’t, say so at the beginning of the day; comment and thank the host at the end of each day. (Reaching Readers: Case Study of a Blog Tour with Gregory Delaurentis) […]
[…] host to invite you back for a repeat visit. Indie author Gregory Delaurentis, who last autumn wrote a great post sharing his first blog tour experience, returns today to share his top tips for being the perfect blog […]
I also used Goddess Fish and overall was pretty happy with the results. Though when you say that “Goddess Fish Promotions moved fast”, I would mention that between booking the tour and having it actually happen there was a little over a month in waiting time.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that they have a range of promotional options depending on how much time and energy you want to invest in each “stop” on the tour.
Gregory, I’m so glad this turned out to be a good experience for you. An author I’ve worked with also liked working with Goddess Fish Promotions, so I’ve been recommending them to the novelists who take my book marketing e-course.
FYI for anyone interested in author blog tours, also known as virtual book tours, I offer a free report on the what, why, and how of them at http://buildbookbuzz.com/virtual-book-tour-basics/.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. I’m going to share your post with my social networks and with the students in the courses I’m teaching this month.
Thank you Sandra, I’m glad that my experience can be of service to others. I’ll look at your report too so that I can refer my author friends to it if they decide to do a virtual book tour also. Take care.
Hi Gregory: I learned the industry by writing, producing, and self-publishing my first hard-cover, small business book: “How to Market Your Business in the 90’s” at three conventions of the BEA and a 6.500 miles driving trip around the US distributing my books from my car, appearing at book signings, radio and TV stations, book clubs, business groups … and more. It was worth at least two years of college tuition, with better on-the-job results. 5,000 copies moved over the years by promotions and sales. I used them as the basis for my syllabus teaching Marketing at community colleges. Even sold a few in Canada, UK, Brasil and Greece. I have one copy left as a memoir.
Compare the above to Gregory’s Virtual Blog Tour that you can manage internationally from your home desktop computer in your old worn T-shirt, (men only) unshaved and uncombed. Today I have an ungraded E-version: “Winning Success With Assertive Marketing” that is on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. A tip for getting the facts on Virtual Book Tours. A quite respected lady, Sandra Beckworth can help. You can reach her at http://[email protected].
Great success story Gregory. Best of luck…
Thank you for relating your story and the tip about Sandra Beckworth. Have a great day and best of luck to you too.
Thanks for the shout out, Warren!
Of course, women are expected to wear lingerie and heels…
I had my first blog tour where I was one of the host, I had no idea what I was suppose to do besides review the book and post my review on my blog on a certain day. To me it was terrible. I had no idea who else was on the blog tour or how it was to be done. I had a request to be part of it by a moderator on Goodreads asking me to help so I did. I never saw any comments or other people’s blogs, so to me it was a bland experience. I guess whoever was organizing it didn’t know what they were doing either. I see you had professionals handling yours that was why it went so well. Anyway, that is my thoughts on blog tours. I might had if I do another, I want a professional to handle it so it goes smoothly and everyone knows their parts. A.G. Moye
Someone mind explaining in a little more detail just what a “Blog Tour” is. How is it different from an ordinary book signing tour?
A blog tour is a virtual version of a book tour, but instead of your physically going to a book store to meet fans and sign books, you go to blogs and meet fans and exchange comments with them. Every day, you are given a new blog to visit, that is featuring your book for their followers (sometimes a hefty number of followers) and you address their interest in your book and hopefully build a fanbase. This is better than a book tour because there is no overhead, such as transportation costs.
Thanks Gregory, much to learn here. A couple of the writers in one of my writers group did blog tours that were organized by their PR persons. I didn’t really understand how they were organized and since they were YA paranormal romance authors, didn’t see how their specifics would apply to me since I’m writing what I call a literary memoir. And I’m still several months from a finished manuscript.
But I have been collecting marketing information on a regular basis for more than a year. Your article made me realize that there is someone, perhaps Goddess Fish, that could put together the proper sites. The main thing I realized from your article that you cannot be too prepared to take an active part yourself, to gather and prepare excellent information for your hosts and readers, to provide extra benefits and marketing materials for them, and to know that for a few weeks you’re going to have to be gung ho. I really like that and will archive your article along with several other helpful articles.
Best of luck to you on your journey.
Thank you Larry, and I wish you the best of luck with finishing your manuscript and your blog tour.